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New AFP SNG van offers enhanced production power for Cannes coverage

Agence France Presse (AFP) broadcast live coverage of the 65th Cannes Film Festival award ceremony using Blackmagic Design's ATEM 2 M/E production switcher, Smart Videohub and UltraStudio 3D.

At the festival, television reporting teams from AFP captured the first reactions of winners and discussed the films entered into the 2012 competition. Customers of AFP in Europe and the Middle East were fed a live HD broadcast feed from the AFP OB van via satellite, while a fiber link was used to transmit the broadcast to those in Asia.

With the support of Atreid in France, AFP built its SNG van around Blackmagic Design's Smart Videohub, which routed all incoming SD and HD signals. The upstream video signals to the van were converted from HD-SDI to fiber optic using Blackmagic Mini Converters, before content was fed into the ATEM 2 M/E production switcher.

According to Yves Tassel of AFP, a new audio mixer feature became available for the production switcher just in time for Cannes. "Before the audio mixer feature came out, we had to extract audio from the HD-SDI streams in order for us to mix sources with an analog mixer, then route the audio mix into the analog XLR inputs." The new audio mixer, allowed AFP to setup play out sources and configure a manual mix for journalists' voiceovers.

AFP also used Blackmagic's UltraStudio 3D Thunderbolt-based capture and playback device connected to a MacBook Pro and Final Cut Pro 7 to allow news teams to edit reports via the SNG van on location so time-sensitive content could be broadcast as it happened.